Science Doesn’t Sleep (4.7.08)

So here’s what went down since you logged off.

As if we don’t have enough weather possible natural disaster to worry about: a magnitude 3.7 earthquake struck south Texas this morning at 4:51 a.m., according to the US Geological Survey. The Chronicle’s SciGuy has more.

Creative Commons License photo credit: magical-world

Location, location, location – it seems Houston’s poor air quality may be due, in part, to close proximity to the coast. A new study shows sea salt may be the culprit.

On the flip side, our proximity to the coast means you won’t have too far to go if you want to help Adopt-A-Beach clean it up. Off the Kuff has information on how you can help.

Because criminals care about the environment, too. Chemists have developed a test that will detect the presence of ‘green’ (lead-free) ammunition. Check out the link for a great picture of a single gunshot residue particle that has been magnified 200 times.

So now I have to worry whether my Mac thinks I’m having a good hair day? Scientists at Tel Aviv University claim they’ve taught a computer to recognize beauty in women. Researcher Amit Kagian says it’s the next step towards artificial intelligence. I say, where’s the program that evaluates attractiveness for your gender, Mr. Kagian?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Steve Beger Photography  

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I still wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley, but alligators may be our new best friend. Researchers have discovered proteins in alligator blood that may fight “superbugs” that don’t resond to conventional medications – as well as infections associated with diabetic ulcers, severe burns and AIDS.

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